The airport is a busy place. You’ve checked in, made it through security, found your gate, queued to get on board, struggled with the overhead lockers and settled back into your seat. Then you hear the captain saying, “We’re waiting for our slot.” What is a slot and why can’t we take off as soon as we are ready?
A slot is a small opening, such as a narrow notch, groove, or opening (as a keyway in a piece of machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine). It may also refer to a position within a group, series, sequence, etc. The word ‘slot’ is often used to describe a position or time in the game of poker. In a card game, the term can mean the player’s position in relation to the dealer and other players.
In football, a slot receiver is a type of wide receiver who lines up on the inside of the field, between the left and the right tackles. Slot receivers tend to be shorter and stockier than wideouts, and they have a different skill set that allows them to excel in certain areas of the field.
Slot receivers are critical to most offenses, and some even see more playing time than the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 receivers. These athletes must be able to run just about every route in the book and have excellent timing. They also need to be able to block, which is particularly important on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds.
The best slot receivers in the NFL have a combination of skills that allow them to make huge plays. They have speed to fly past the secondary, especially in a go route, and they have reliable hands to catch contested catches. They also need to be able to run precise patterns and develop chemistry with the quarterback.
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